This is more than just a guide, and a list of things to do in Abeokuta. This is a story – a true story of happiness and a bit of sadness – of my trip to Abeokuta and the popular Olumo Rock with my friends.
We’d been planning on going on an adventure for as long as we could remember, but never really got to do it until one evening, I got a call from a friend, “Hey! How about we just go to Olumo Rock in Abeokuta. It’s close to Lagos and we could spend a weekend there.”
And so we decided that we were going to use the train. If we wanted to go all out on an adventure, why not? We were all hyped up and ready to go all out and explore, but on the day of the trip, this happened!
Once we arrived Abeokuta, we made our way to our hotel. We had booked with the most popular hotel booking website in Nigeria only for us to find out that the hotel didn’t even know we were coming. Actually, the hotel had no relationship with the website whatsoever. It was a huge setback for us. The website was offering a discount if we booked with them and we had designed our budget with that in mind. We explained our situation to the hotel manager and asked for a little discount to accommodate our budget but he refused.
So there we were, stuck in an empty street in a secluded area somewhere in Abeokuta, tired and hungry, and wondering what our next step would be. I tell you, that is not so bad, you know. There’s a certain level of excitement that comes with having all your plans destroyed and having to make new ones on the spot.
We walked the streets of Abeokuta a good while, flagging down driving cars, asking for directions, and hoping some cool Samaritan would take strangers into their car and drive us to a place we could get a transport to another hotel. We finally saw two commercial motorcyclists, and they agreed to take us to a hotel that wasn’t as expensive. This is not usually a good thing, you know. Once, when I traveled to Obudu town, I asked a motorcyclist to take me to a good hotel, instead, I was taken to a place where I struggled to breathe because of how smelly it was. But when you’re out of options, you simply trust that the locals also have good taste.
We were pleasantly surprised. We were taken to Star City Hotel with an unbeatable price (our budget breakdown is towards the end of the article), and the experience was generally pleasant. We didn’t eat the hotel food, because, well, we wanted to eat real Abeokuta street food which will of course be less expensive. From our window, we could get a very good view of the sunrise, and should I return to Abeokuta on another trip, the hotel would most likely play host to me again.
We spent the Friday evening relaxing after a very tiring day while we prepared to explore Olumo the next morning.
It’s a good thing to know a little bit about Abeokuta and Britannica wrote a nice summary about this town that many of Nigeria’s notable figures including Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo were raised. Abeokuta literally means, ‘Under the Rock’, and Olumo Rock is strategically placed right at the middle of the town. While on top of the rock (137 meters above sea level), you can see every part of the town.
The next morning (Saturday), we left our hotel in search of a taxi that would take us to the site. Once at Olumo, the rest of our tour became a breeze. Yes, it was tiring, but it was also fulfilling. It helped that our tour guide was very knowledgeable and had great photography skills too. He told us stories of how the Egba people found refuge under the rock during the war, how sacrifices are made yearly at the rock so tourists don’t fall off, how since the site was opened to tourist, they’ve never had any causalities despite the height and steepness of the rock, and of the tree on top of the rock which is over 300 years old. From the top of the rock, we were shown the First Church in Nigeria, the family house of Moshood Abiola, The Central Mosque and well as the Ogu River which connects Ogun State with Ekiti.
I tell you, these stories fill you with warmth knowing that you’ve come really far as a nation. We stayed on the rock for a while, taking in the gorgeous view, enjoying the warm breeze and just living the moment. When we climbed down, we visited the art gallery at the site, then found our way back to the hotel.
We made an appointment with our driver for an evening ride to more exciting places.
THE OOPL COMPLEX
Our driver was right on time to take us to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex that houses a zoo, a cinema, a Forest Conservation Reserve, a garden and lots more! I found the place to be better than I’d imagined it to be. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of the images taken at the Complex, but I was particularly impressed with the zoo. OOPL is for me a must visit. Of course, we went ahead to see King of Boys which was the movie of the year at the time.
By the time we came back to our hotel, we were way spent. I wish we had more time to explore more of Abeokuta – the markets, streets and the general scenery.
Transportation: N5000. This includes our trip to and from Abeokuta, including the short journeys made within Abeokuta
Olumo rock: Camera Fee: N500 (If you’re coming with a digital camera), entrance Fee: 1000
Hotel: 4,000 (Per night)
Feeding: 4,000 (Of course, you control how much you wish to spend on food)
Miscellaneous (movies, visit to the zoo, sightseeing): About 5,000.
Note: This is an approximate breakdown. Also, some of the prices may have changed.
But because everything that has a beginning must have an end, on Sunday morning, we packed our bags for our trip back to Lagos.
Abeokuta is a must visit! If you enjoyed this article, you’ll also enjoy the story of my journey to Obudu Mountain Resort. Let me know in the comments what your thoughts are.